Every couple of years during Hall of Fame season, I like to revisit an idea that was inspired by Bill James, identifying the top players at each position who remain outside the gates of Cooperstown. The concept is a nod to James’ systematic Keltner Test, which is named for former Indians third baseman Ken Keltner, a seven-time All-Star who’s best known for his defensive work in helping to end Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941. James’ test is a set of 15 questions that can be used to frame a player’s case for Cooperstown. One of the most important: “Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?”
Given the recent elections of players such as Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Barry Larkin and Ron Santo who could make such a claim, an annual crop of new candidates, and tweaks to the JAWS methodology, the answers to that question change with some frequency, making it worthwhile to take another trip around the diamond for what I like to call the Keltner All-Stars.